story time when i was 16 my mom and i were watching ellen and my mom says
‘oh look my favorite lesbian!’
and i said ‘i thought i was your favorite lesbian?’
and she just stared at me for a moment and said
‘oh ok. ‘
and we just continued watching
and thats how i came out to my mother
The new issue of Newsweek features a cover photo of President Obama topped by a rainbow-colored halo and captioned “The First Gay President.” The halo and caption strike me as cheap sensationalism. I realize airport travelers look at a magazine for 2.2 seconds before moving on to the next one. I grant that this cover will probably get Newsweek a 4.4 second glance. I also understand that Newsweek is desperate for sales. Nevertheless, I doubt that the Newsweek of old, before it was sold for a dollar, would have pandered as shallowly.
The caption is a superficial way to characterize an important development of thought that the president — along with the country — has been making over recent years. It is also entirely wrong. Like the mini-furor a couple of months back about the claim that Richard Nixon was our first gay president, the story simply ignores that the U.S. already had a gay president more than a century ago.
There can be no doubt that James Buchanan was gay, before, during and after his four years in the White House. Moreover, the nation knew it, too — he was not far into the closet.
Today, I know no historian who has studied the matter and thinks Buchanan was heterosexual. Fifteen years ago, historian John Howard, author of “Men Like That,” a pioneering study of queer culture in Mississippi, shared with me the key documents, including Buchanan’s May 13, 1844, letter to a Mrs. Roosevelt. Describing his deteriorating social life after his great love, William Rufus King, senator from Alabama, had moved to Paris to become our ambassador to France, Buchanan wrote:
I am now “solitary and alone,” having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.
One of the most awkward moments of my life was at a history conference where one person had an entire presentation on anti-Buchanan propaganda—a lot of which featured him in a dress.
At the end of the presentation another person asked, “Do you think much of this had to do with his sexual orientation?”
“The fact that he lived with a man and it was widely understood that he was romantically involved with men.”
“Oh… no, I don’t think so.”
“Really? You really don’t think the dress cartoons had anything to do with him being gay?”
A lot of historians also consider Buchanan the worst president in American history, but that’s neither here nor there.
Don’t Tell, Show of the Day: After a photo of US Marine Brandon Morgan being welcomed home by his partner Dalan went viral in a big way on Facebook, Morgan issued the following response to the thousands of comments it generated:
To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. Dalan, the giant in the photo, can’t believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn’t do this to get famous,or something like that we did this cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt. As for the haters, let em hate…to quote Kat Williams, everyone needs haters, so let them hate. We are the happiest we have ever been and as for the whole PDA and kissing slash hugging in uniform…it was a homecoming, if the Sergeants Major, Captains, Majors, and Colonels around us didn’t care…then why do you care what these random people have to say?
That shit is hard to make. I tried—rather unsuccessfully. Boyfriend, on other hand, is a much better queer than me and made these perfect rainbow stripes in cupcakes.